Open the Floodgates for Online Feedback on Scientific Papers? Not So Fast - ACS Nano (ACS Publications)
"When I travel and speak with scientists and students from around the world and I mention my association with ACS Nano, I repeatedly hear energetic requests for American Chemical Society publications to allow online comments regarding individual papers, much like most major newspaper articles. Not surprisingly, it is predominately people younger than me (I’m 45), particularly graduate students, who are highly engaged and excited with research and long for a medium that would enable them to engage directly with other scientists who have read the article and with the authors themselves. I must admit that I find their arguments and reasoning compelling, and I have wondered what the outcome would be. While I use Twitter and Facebook, and now cannot imagine the world without tweets, I normally ignore the comments following news articles because the lack of order and coherence tries my patience, and they frequently represent extreme (and sometimes) angry, unconstructive viewpoints whose sole purpose is to vent in anonymity. But, for research articles that typically require a subscription and are quite specialized, maybe it could be a great move forward to draw the paper’s audience into a lively discussion? As an author myself, the chance to answer questions from readers following publication of a paper, and to perhaps generate new ideas that we did not previously envisage, sounds intriguing. In addition, more general, accessible, and complementary summaries of our research papers could also enable outreach with broader communities, to get the message out as to what we are all doing. What is not to like? ..."